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How is Fundamental Research Defined?
National Security Decision Directive 189 (NSDD189) states:

FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH means basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community (as distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons).

  • NSDD189 defined fundamental research in order to establish a national policy for “controlling the flow of science, technology and engineering information produced in federally funded fundamental research at colleges, universities, and laboratories”.
  • The federal export regulations have followed the spirit of NSDD189 in defining fundamental research.   International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Export Administration Regulations and Nuclear Export Control Regulations definition of Fundamental Research

The Fundamental Research Exclusion may be void if the university or principal investigator accepts any of the following conditions - verbal and/or written - regardless of sponsor: 

  • Prepublication Review
  • Sponsor Approvals or Conditions on Publication or Information
  • Foreign National Controls or Approvals
  • Access and Dissemination Controls on the Research
  • National Security Controls 
Federal Policy Memos on Fundamental Research

NSDD189 Memo September 21, 1985

DoE Memo May 12, 2003

DoD Memo June 26, 2008

DoD Memo May 24, 2010